Hammercalled Design Objectives (Or “Why You Should Play Hammercalled”)

I’ve become a bigger fan of planning recently as a way to prevent mission creep, and it was very effective for velotha’s flock, which released (mostly) on-schedule without any sacrifices to its core content.

So, as we move into Hammercalled entering regular testing by April and potentially being available to the public in its first wave release around that time, I want to share what my design objectives are for the game.

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Title Release Dates for March 2018

I put off writing today and I want to go to bed, so I’m going to just toss out some quick release dates for stuff.

I’m having writer’s block on Oskan’s Prophet/Rediscovery/The Legacy of Eight novel. I’m going to go back to drafting and keep what I can, but I’m putting it on the backburner for now.

The advanced player’s guide for velotha’s flock is due March 20 to DriveThruRPG. I don’t have self-publish privileges yet, but that should make sure that it gets up before March 23.

I’m also working on a combat/gear test for Hammercalled. That will take the form of its own independent mini-setting and game. The name is still in the air, but it’s a post-apocalyptic take on political intrigue. Or, alternatively, a vehicle brawler set out in the desert.

The four core mechanics I want to test here are:

  • combat
  • characters
  • gear
  • vehicles

Plus the very basic frameworks needed for a playable game.

Once those core mechanics are finished, I’m going to move to Street Rats. The setting will be somewhat different from the old Street Rats, but it will maintain a lot of the core feel. That’s to test:

  • super-technology
  • cyberspace (maybe?)
  • non-human characters
  • advanced talents and traits

Then we’re going to have an Othenar release, which will focus on:

  • magic
  • well, pretty much just magic, really, but that’s a heck of a beast

Once that’s done, we’ll bundle up the system and attach it to the Hammercalled system.

Is this a good idea?

I don’t know. It’s never been done. It gives us more time to build word of mouth before our big release, but it’s also going to be an adventure.

I hope you’ll stick with us through it.

Hammercalled Combat Revised, Part 2: Attack Actions, Move Actions, and Reactions

Yesterday I talked about how Hammercalled was getting a simple-but-fulfilling action system, today I want to go into more detail about how each of those actions can be used in combat.

One quick thing to remember is that actions can be used in any order, and can be used simultaneously, or split apart to different parts of the turn. This impacts my decisions in some of the defensive rules, since I want Hammercalled to be quick-playing and not get bogged down.

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Hammercalled Combat Revised, Part 1: The Action Economy and Initiative

I’ve gotten the idea that to get Hammercalled to the point that I want it to be at, I should probably break the development down into waves. The first wave of development is to focus on the gear and combat (the part of the game most currently developed, but also the most prone to needing a big overhaul.

When I started working on Hammercalled, I wanted a very complex combat system, but I’ve changed that to be more minimalist. I think that there are ways that I can still compete with and improve over equivalent market titles without falling foul of what I want to do here.

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Into the Breach Review & The Joys of Simple Combat

I got Into the Breach today. It’s a tactical strategy game with roleplaying/roguelite elements. I figured that it would be an especially good case study after yesterday’s article on designing combat systems for games, and I was not disappointed.

The whole game is quite charming, as one would expect from a title from the FTL developers, though I think I enjoy it more than I enjoyed FTL (which I loved certain elements of, but didn’t particularly find replayable or mind-blowing, merely competent and well-designed).

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Five Maxims for Designing Good Combat in Games

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about as velotha’s flock goes into product line expansion and maintenance and the core game is essentially finished is how to design a good combat system, not the least of which because Hammercalled needs one that works.

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Commentary on velotha’s flock Part 2: The Product Line

From fairly early conception of velotha’s flock, when it went from being a four-page novelty to a full-fledged game as it were, I decided to make it into a multi-part affair. I want to talk briefly about the reasons why, especially since as a free game I don’t think anyone’s accusing it of being a money-grubbing move.

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On Archetypes, Heroes, and RPG Characters

This was originally going to be a velotha’s flock post, but I decided that some of this should be a stand-alone thing. One of the issues with game design, I feel, is that most of it doesn’t really go down the road of storytelling. Even more narrative-focused games often do so with a focus on “story over rules” rather than following any sort of storytelling praxis.

I think that there are a few reasons for this, and I’ve got a brief breakdown of what I think GMs and designers can do to prevent mediocre storytelling in their games.

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Commentary on velotha’s flock Part 1: Eden, Wilderness, Promised Land

One of the things that I wanted to do with velotha’s flock is create an interesting world that people haven’t seen the likes of before, to make something that challenges their conceptions of what many of the basic tenets of the game’s world are.

Of course, I put a lot of the elements of the game down in tradition too, because I don’t want to explain anything and I want to reward readers and players who have a strong interest in intellectual pursuits for doing what they do best and finding connections between things.

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Velotha’s Flock: Making a Character

One of the things that we often forget to do when we design games is to really put some of the mechanics through a practical run, and sometimes we design it without really giving voice to why we do things and stuff gets thrown in and kept even after its intended purpose is done.

With velotha’s flock, I wanted to do a quick overview of what makes a character unique and interesting with a character system that may, on its surface, seem to lead toward similar characters.

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